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Showing posts from April, 2014

Password hell, why everyone is failing password UX 101

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Passwords are a horrible clunky mechanism, however, until all devices have finger print / retina scanner APIs they are still an essential basic security mechanism, that is accepted as a necessary evil by the end user.

There tends to be three basic strategies to website passwords that people adopt.

1. A single password for everything. It is a complex, but easily memorable as you have to type the same one in several times a day.

2. A large number of passwords based on a pattern, perhaps even one per website which includes the website name.

3. Randomly generated passwords stored either in the browser or a key storage like keepass.

From my user testing the first two are most common and some companies even ban the use of the third strategy. It should be possible to see these strategies and understand exactly how users access websites and more importantly how to provide the least friction to their use of the website, but I still see plenty of websites which fail to do so. Causing usability …

Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview Crashing / Unlocking issue resolved

After Updating my Lumia 1020 to Windows Phone Developer Preview version 8.1 I felt the new features were great. However, I encountered what I consider a terrible bug, approximately every few hours my phone would not respond, it could not be opened and would require a soft reset every time in order to gain access.

I believe I have tracked this down to the password lock. After removing the password lock I am no longer experiencing this issue. Clearly no-one at Microsoft tried putting a password on their phone, developer preview or not this is a bug that really should have been high priority and not made through any reasonable QA process.

Still feature wise WP 8.1 is great and if Chrome comes to the platform then I doubt I would leave.

Project Ara high end or low end?

I remember many years ago when it was impossible to buy a desktop PC for less than £1500, but you could build one for nearer £900. For many years it was cheaper to buy the components and build your own. Then along came Dell. After a couple of years the price difference was minimal and in some cases Dell was actually cheaper.


The build your own PC became an enthusiast market, either gaming machines or super quiet machines were ordered via their components, the closest most people came to the component market was to buy some extra ram.


So I am very curious to find out what project Ara will bring. Will buying the components allow you to maximise the features you want and save money on the stuff you don't care about? Will it be an enthusiast only product where people build super premium phones which cost a lot more than the current flagships just to get that extra professor boost or new sensor type?


Whenever i look for a new phone i wish i could make a hybrid of several of the c…

What a difference a point release makes!

Windows 8 may only have gained a single point release, but it really is amazing how much is included. While some of the features have been in android and iOS for some time, there are brand new features such as WiFi sense and clever refinements of existing features like Cortana.


WiFi sense is a clever piece of software which shares out your WiFi hotspots with your friends. Of course sadly as most of your friends won't have a Windows phone this isn't very useful, but perhaps on the future it might save you from that annoying what's your WiFi password hunt and then entering a stupidly long code.


My favourite feature is the shape typing, which I am using now to write this. It is fast and accurate and for the first time I feel able to write a long piece of text on my Windows phone.
The notification pull down menu brings WP8.1 in line with android and iOS and even after just a day you can see it is better than live tiles on their own.
The sounds are now split further so that the…

Wow Windows Phone 8.1 even better than the rumours!

Obviously I was up to speed on all of the new rumoured features, however, to avoid potential disappointment I was resigning myself to the probability that at least one of the rumours was untrue. Luckily all the features I was looking for have been introduced and more!


Swype-like keyboard (Shape Typing)Notification bar (Action Center)Cortana Virtual Assistant Shape Typing Swype-like keyboard is probably my most wanted feature. Since switching to Windows Phone I have often been waiting to gain access to a desktop before responding to emails because my typing speed has dropped dramatically. While Swype on Android it felt like I was not far from keyboard speed, the standard MS Keyboard felt like I was just wasting my time even starting to type. Action Center It is difficult to explain how nice it is to read all your notifications, body text and all, just from a quick swipe on the lock screen unless you have experienced it in Android, preferably stock Android as Samsung tends to flood the n…

LG the surprise package

I had a look at the blind photo comparison on phonearena. It was interesting to see the differences between the top phones available in terms of there cameras. I felt it was a fight between phone 1 and phone 7. While in some cases the other phones were better overall these appeared to me to be the most consistent.

It was not a big surprise that my top pick was the Lumia 1520, the large camera sensor size and consistently good performance of other Nokia phones is well known, what did surprise me was that my second choice was the LG G2!

It does seem that LG might be making a step up to really challenge Samsung, they have made the last two nexus phones, and the G2 is currently selling at a relatively bargain price compared to most other top of the range phones.

Whats more they have developed self healing plastic and curved displays, rear mounted buttons, as well as what appears to be the best android camera. If they were to up their sensor sizes to match Sony and Samsung and keep the O…